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THE GIFT OF THE GAFFE

By Priyanka Chaturvedi

A lot has been written about the Delhi rape and how this country needs to get a few basics right whether it is in the form of judicial reforms, police reforms or bringing in more stringent laws. While all these were the good intentioned suggestions coming from various sources, there were some from prominent leaders whose cringe worthy opinions/suggestions not only left everyone speechless but also enraged.

What is extremely worrying is the mindset that comes across of these well known personalities. Some elected, some followed widely. Their comments also establish one thing clearly – that a woman’s struggle in India for equal rights and to a life of dignity and independence in the truest sense is still an uphill task. Such blatant misogynist politicians should find no place in the democracy.

India Gang Rape

The Congress party which is at the center for the maximum years in the country since Independence has introduced women friendly policies and passed acts to empower women and make them an integral in the male dominated country as much as possible.  The party has been committed to women’s rights and equal opportunities to women not only in every sphere but also in the democratic parliamentary system. And it is a party which walks the talk starting from within the party. Even till date some of the most important positions in the party are held by women. The party’s commitment to various bills that are awaiting approval is as strong as ever.

The recent utterances by top leaders of some well-known parties go on to show how biased we are towards our women. Let us start with Mohan Bhagwat who had a Bharat vs India theory in his head on why rape occur ‘Such crimes hardly take place in Bharat’ Really sir? Have you read any statistics before passing a general comment like that? Here’s news for you- While the National Crime Records Bureau does not split registered cases of sexual assault by rural and urban areas, Mrinal Satish, an associate professor of law at Delhi’s National Law University, used court data to find that 75% of rape cases that led to convictions over the last 25 years were from rural India. The statistics itself should prove just how beyond logic his comment is.

Now here is a piece of advice to women coming from a Madhya Pradesh minister from the BJP Kailash Vijayvargiya – women must not cross the ‘Lakshman rekha’ to avoid unwanted consequences. Coming from a minister of a state which barring one year in the last two decades has led the country for the highest number of rapes In 2011 there were 3,406 reported cases of rape in Madhya Pradesh which is approximately works out  to nine rapes every day. Zero empathy and shameless comparison.

Chattisgarh BJP MP had this to say referring to a rape case involving minor inmates of a state-run school ‘The rape of grown up girls and women might be understandable but if someone does this to an infant, it is a heinous crime and the offenders should be hanged.’  Phew is it as minor an issue and insensitive thing to discuss and debate. Yes it is terrible if such an incident happens to minors but the horror just because you are a grown up and a woman does not make it any lesser. Dear minister you are the one who needs to grow up!

Abu Asim Azmi a prominent politician from Samajwadi Party wanted a law against a man-woman being together. He also had views on appropriate dress sense for women to avoid rapes. Then of course there was Asaram Bapu who had some ludicrous suggestion for the women and some advise also came from a lady scientist Anita Shukla who while addressing a seminar on ‘Sensitivity towards Women’ called by the Madhya Pradesh police department said that there had been no need of removing the victim’s intestine if she would have surrendered herself before the rapists.

There are many more, plenty more. Now that their misogynist thoughts and words are out in the public domain isn’t it time to decide if such elected people should continue to enjoy our support. This is how they talk publicly in front of cameras wonder how their thought process works in private?  And if such are their irresponsible thoughts about women when in opposition, shudder to think what will happen if they ever end up being at the center.

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2 Comments on THE GIFT OF THE GAFFE

  1. True and you have leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Najma Heptullah, calling for rapists to be hanged in public places in 24 hours, reducing the country to a banana republic worse than that practiced byTaliban.. Worse, Jaya Bacchan voicing the same and shedding (crocodile) tears , not telling her own party chief to hang all the accused within their own party. Talk about being hypocritical and double speak. Today’s pronouncement by Karnataka Govt for changing laws for rape is going to the extreme on mobocracy. No appeal for the rape accused for one year in any court!. What about false charges made for extortion! How does the law protect me in case my domestic help runs out of my house in the morning, screaming rape.. rape!. only to extort money from me. It happens and happens daily.

  2. Nikhil Anand // January 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm // Reply

    Priyanka ji, quite nicely you have quoted examples of Mohan Bhagwat, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Chhatisgarh BJP MP and some others too. Its true that their statements are irresponsible, they should have refrained from saying those things. But your article is incomplete as you forgot to mention some bigwigs like Mahipal Maderna, N D Tiwari, AMS, one recently elected Cong MLA in Himachal..These people haven’t said anything, they just committed the act (perhaps they strongly believe in the saying- Actions speak louder than words)..And who can forget the unforgettable by Sriprakash Jaiswal ji- “A marriage loses its charm as it grows old”.
    Priyanka ji, as I began reading your article, at the outset it seemed to me that you are talking about reforms and draconian laws needed to curb rising incidents of rapes across our country & particularly in Delhi(a Cong ruled state). But then as I read further, it became quite clear that you are politicizing the issue. THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION. Had you proposed some pragmatic solution, some ways to curb crimes against women, your article would have been a better one. But you shifted the focus and tried to make it a political issue. You should know that misogyny is a mentality and it has nothing to do with Cong or BJP. Its all due to the patriarchal nature of our society, which, unfortunately all of us are a part of.
    I hope you’ll contemplate on these things and write a better article. ALL THE BEST!!

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